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Five Observations from Germany’s 2-1 win over Peru

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Things seem to be heading in the right direction

Germany v Sweden: Group F - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

A Clear Plan

It was clear from the opening kick off that Germany had shifted their tactical approach to play more directly and press the opponent hard after losing the ball. In the first half, Germany had a lot of success transitioning quickly from defense to offense. The midfield of Joshua Kimmich, Toni Kroos, and Ilkay Gündogan did a great job of moving the ball up the pitch quickly to exploit holes in Peru’s defense. Their quick combinations, coupled with an increase in runs in behind the defense by all three attackers - Timo Werner, who once again lined up on the wing, Marco Reus, and Julian Brandt - allowed Germany to threaten goal constantly.

Finishing

Though the game only ended 2:1, Germany could’ve scored three or four in the first half alone. Finishing has plagued this team for a while now, and their inefficiency in front of goal showed again today. Matthias Ginter missed a wide open header off a corner early, and Marco Reus badly mishit a low driven cross that surely would’ve resulted in a goal had he been able to put the ball on target. Timo Werner also didn’t have his best day in front of the goal and failed to get the ball past Peru’s goalkeeper on a number of occasions. With better finishing, this game could have been decided by half time.

Desire

A positive two game stretch obviously doesn’t mean the issues surrounding the team have resolved themselves, but there seemed to be a desire and hunger in the team today that wasn’t recognizable over the last 12 months. The tempo of the game, both on offense and defense, was high, especially in the first half. The pressing, while sometimes a tad overambitious, worked well, and Peru rarely had time to breathe and make decisions after losing the ball. Even after they went down 1:0 on a counter near the 20 minute mark, they didn't hang their heads and played on as they had before: full steam ahead. They stuck to the game plan and equalized shortly after.

Defense

While they looked much improved on offense, they were still shaky on defense. Counter attacks provide the team with loads of trouble, and it showed multiple times, including on Peru’s opener. Nico Schulz was caught lagging, and his decision to sprint in a straight line at, and subsequently past, Luis Advíncula instead of fronting and containing him, allowed the Peruvian, who slotted it past Marc Andre ter Stegen at the near post. Peru, while outmatched for most of the contest, did have their fair share of chances and could certainly have scored more than just the one goal they did today.

A Successful International Break

Two positive games, both in terms of result and playing style, mark this international break a success. Experimenting with Kimmich and Ginter worked out well, and both looked good in their new (old) positions. Nico Schulz, Thilo Kehrer, and Kai Havertz all celebrated their international debut today, with Schulz even scoring a goal. The three debutants take Jogi Löws tally to 99 since taking charge of the team after the World Cup in 2006, and number 100 likely won’t have to wait long. After a dark few months for the national team after their disappointing performance this summer, as well as the controversies surrounding the side off of it, the team seems to be trending in the right direction.

Oh, and no injuries.